Return to the age of innocence

I have been spending a lot of time with toddlers recently. Almost 95 percent of our Indian friend circle in the Bay Area have kids in the age range of 0-24 months and I, inadvertently, end up being the “entertainer” for their little ones. I choose that role because it allows me to experience unabridged, uncomplicated, uninhibited joy. Their curious eyes, their playfulness, and their squeaks of glee remind me of what I have lost in my journey to becoming an adult.

They are right at the precipice of learning language — the kind that we adults can understand — but despite their evident verbal “handicap” they’re pretty good communicators. They go around in circles when happy, cry in pain/to seek attention/when they can’t get their way, squeal in surprise, and say long sentences in gibberish when they’re trying to make a point.  They live in the moment.

It’s almost like attending a free seminar when I’m with these kids. They know how to live life king size. And they offer their “wisdom” to anyone willing to partake. I find our friends too overwhelmed by day-to-day challenges of feeding, cleaning, and keeping up to appreciate the wealth of insights to be had from these high-energy laughter-balls. And I don’t blame them. Parenting is no easy task. It’s difficult to gaze in wonderment when you’re cleaning poop.

As an outsider, though, who gets an inside peek into their kids’ Barney-enriched utopian worlds, I am grateful. They continually teach me to be free; to have an open mind where anything is possible; to question; to get amazed at the simplest things; and most importantly, to be me. They help peel away the layers of sophistication, knowledge, and suave and revel in the rawness of the human spirit. To experience happiness in its purest form. To feel satiated within.

I’ll feel a tinge of sadness as, in time, we’ll welcome these children into the adult world, but for now I shall  make the most of their wonder years and enjoy my return to the age of innocence.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Return to the age of innocence

  1. Pingback: Day after day after day… « First Impressions

  2. Perfecto! What are the chances that you and I have similar answer to a very generic question!!

    As you said it, kids do not judge people, they do not read between lines, they do not have any agenda, they take others on their face value, they do not try to act smart by reading behavioral patterns. These are our natural gifts which we choose to loose on our way to become smart and educated.

    Kids do not have common sense, they do not have pre-defined notions of things, certainly they do not have prejudices. These are things we happily choose to acquire as we grow up. Why is it so difficult for us grown-ups to do things which even an infant can do! Why can we not judge people, not read between lines, without being insensitive to others situations! We made choices which transformed us from an age of innocence to an age of race. Question: is this an irreversible process? I do not know. Deep in my heart, I believe it is reversible as nothing is beyond human capabilities, but, as usual, if you want to spend rest of your life in isolation in this age of race, be my guest.

    PS: Of course kids are not capable of imagining themselves in other’s shoes, but i think that is the only thing they miss which they can learn from their parents, after all parents also would like to pass on some things to their kids, let this be one of those things.

  3. You are very lucky, for (1) you are surrounded by little kids, every one of them is a little wonder world in himself or herself, and (2) they are not your own kids so you get to watch the movie without paying for the ticket :o) I envy you, totally.

    Parenting is extremely challenging but equally essential for the sake of the next generation. We need special people in our lives, to own them, to pass on our inheritance only to them etc etc, that is the system we have established based on what we are, a human. The movie March of the Penguins (2005) is my Parenting 101, it is a classic. My most memorable scene from this movie is towards the end, when all baby penguins move away from their parents and jump into the wilderness of ocean. Once they are into waters, they are no more baby penguins, they are independent penguins, their parents do not need to care about them, infact to me it looked like as if that is where their relationship ended and after that they are just penguins to each other, no more son penguin or daughter penguin or papa penguin or mama penguin.

    I have a question for you: Why is that you are able to get unabridged, uncomplicated, uninhibited joy from your interactions with kids, something that you do not get with adults? (I think I have my answer for this question).

    • I don’t blame you for envying me. As a coworker put it: Brijesh and I are really like very young grandparents; enjoying the kids without having to deal with all the “crap”!
      To answer your question: I think the primary reason is that we don’t/can’t judge kids and they don’t judge you. It’s because the emotions they have and share with adults, especially at the toddler stage, are so pure and so devoid of any “agendas” that they give the kind of uncomplicated happiness one can’t find in the company of adults. Sure, I laugh and joke and have a great time with friends, but it’s not the same. With kids I laugh uninhibitedly, jump, run, squeal…I feel free. Not easy to do with adults 🙂

  4. Pat H.

    The good news is as we age, we re-enter the world you describe above. Worldly concerns fall away, and we’re free to be real again. I saw this with my parents, and I hope to experience the same.

  5. manjary

    Truly said that kids teach us more things than we teach them. Being a mother, I experience the ongoing lessons my 16 month old daughter have for me. Every single day I learn to smile broader with her on small things she says or does. I had never realised that something as simple as jumping on the pillow and tearing a page from a magazine could be of so much fun and excitement till now.

  6. While parenting is surely a very hard task, and sometimes ungratifying, but it is supposed to fill your heart and soul with hope and love and faith and lots of smiles along with a tough path.

    One thing is sure, kids can teach us more things than we can teach them

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